Page 51 - Vancouver Art Gallery 2014
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Eleanor and Barbara Aside from nature, Callahan’s most enduring subject was his wife, Eleanor. This
collection includes seventy images from Callahan’s extended portrait of Eleanor, some with their daughter
Barbara, which demonstrate his endlessly inventive and personally expressive engagement with photography.
Sarah Greenough has noted that: “Through his detailed studies of Eleanor, which delineate the boundaries of
their lives together and describe the most intimate and incidental minutia of their daily existence…Callahan
speaks of an all-encompassing, ever-present relationship, one that is so powerful that even when he is not with
her, he sees her all around him.”

People Callahan photographed many human subjects in addition to Eleanor and Barbara. Some, such as his
colleagues Aaron Siskind and Mies van der Rohe, were familiar, while others were unknown. Callahan regularly
turned his camera toward anonymous people in city streets, capturing both the sense of stimulation and the
alienation that is emblematic of urban life. Women were of particular interest—as the post-war economic boom
drew more women into the workforce and public spaces in general. Callahan walked the streets of Chicago with
a camera in hand, photographing its inhabitants initially in relation to their surroundings and then, in a more
radical format, focusing on their individual faces. The spontaneity of this approach is evident in his images of


ABOVE: Harry Morey Callahan, Eleanor, Chicago , c.1954, silver gelatin print, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of The Rossy
Family Foundation, © The Estate of Harry Callahan, Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York OPPOSITE: Harry Morey Callahan,
Multiple Exposure Tree, Chicago , 1956, silver gelatin print, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Gift of The Rossy Family Foundation,
© The Estate of Harry Callahan, Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York




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